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New York City has a new web portal for teens. Click on www.nyc.gov/teen to find information, resources, and help.


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Hotlines (dating violence, housing, mental health)


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Legal Aid (call the office in the borough where you lived when you first went into foster care)
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Featured Story

Finding  My Way Home
image by YC
Finding My Way Home

The first time I remember having issues with eating was after a comment my dad made. I forget how old I was but I remember his words like it was yesterday. He said, “If you keep eating like that you will end up looking like your mother.”

To me, that meant I’d end up fat and couch-bound with no one to love me. At the time, my father was sexually abusing me and my mother was letting it happen. When my dad made that comment I felt like he was a fortune teller. He was reading my future and my body was his concern.

After that I changed my eating habits in lots of small ways. I began to limit the amount I would place on my plate compared to my mom. Sometimes I would skip meals, and it was around this time that I had my first few laxatives.

When I was 13 I lost a lot of weight. I began to go out for daily runs, and I started to do a lot of sit-ups and push-ups, even lifting phone books to reduce the fat in my arms. At first, I was just trying to stop my depression about what was going on at home.

Controlling my weight gave me some stability. If my mom started her speech about me stealing her husband away, I couldn’t speak back because of my fear of being punished by her and then by my dad. But I’d go into my room and do sit-ups or spit out my food. It was like getting back at them both. Only they didn’t notice I was deteriorating.

When I finally told my godmother about the abuse, my sister and I were put in foster care.

My Secret

My struggles with eating went up and down for the next couple years. I’d eat for a few days, then go on what I called my fasting period. At times I had a normal appetite. But when certain fatty foods were placed in front of me, I’d say to myself, “Think of how many calories you’re about to eat,” or, “Look at the amount your sister has on her plate. You’re going to be the fat one.” I wanted and needed to keep myself the slender one, the one who might not be as smart but who has the better body, the most self-discipline.

Moving from one home to the next made it easy to cover up what I was doing. No one took the time out to notice what was going on, and somehow I enjoyed that. My eating disorder was a secret I could keep to myself.

In Charge of My Body

When I was 16 I moved to a group home and my eating disorder became full-blown. I think it was the freedom of making my own plate of food. I could put any amount I wanted on the plate and no one could say anything. . .

[read more]